Shinta Nojiri, director of Metal Gear Acid
and new Rebellion-developed current-gen title NeverDead
explains the challenges of working with Western studios from a Japanese perspective.
Nojiri has spent a lot of time in Rebellion's UK offices working with the team. He devised the original concept and gameplay design for NeverDead
and has contributed to the design documents, he reveals in a new Gamasutra feature interview
So, how are things going at the UK studio? "Yes, I'm enjoying it," says Nojiri. "But most days, we're fighting -- positive fighting, I mean."
Japanese studios are often top-down, notably Kojima Productions, where Nojiri spent much of his career. "I have some confidence about the quality of the game, and I know how to make this game much better -- even great. I was order them on what to do, and how, and sometimes they don't like my way.
"I think there's a kind of Japanese way and not Western way, because Western people have more discussion, but I always make a decision for everything. This is not the necessarily a Japanese way, but I guess it's a kind of Kojima Productions way," he says.
While he can point to successful collaborations between Konami's Western offices and Western developers, he admits that the Japanese arm of the company has had problems with these collaborations in the past, but -- "now we believe it will be successful."
Key to that is being embedded at Rebellion as much as possible during development, he says.
"I provided details for the gameplay and everything, and I think I have a definite vision of the final game. It makes it easier for me to answer everything. When they ask me something -- you know, 'Which is better?' or 'How should I do it?' I can answer that every time.
"The point is: I'm staying on the team, and I always am staying among the team and working with them. I can answer anytime. If I am in Japan, it's so difficult to respond to them. It takes hours. But now I am staying with them," he says.
The full interview, which goes into greater depth
and the thinking behind developing it in the UK -- as well as Nojiri's other ambitions and his relationship with famed developer Hideo Kojima -- is live now on Gamasutra.